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Public School Issues

The Problems Inside School Systems Today

The American compulsory schools have many public school issues. What are the effects of bullying on children? What are the pros and cons of homeschooling? How creating a homeschool in your home can be the best education for your kids.

Academic Issues

You know there is a problem with the education system when you realize that out of the three Rs, only one begins with an R.

Science Myths in K-6 Textbooks and Popular culture
So you think you couldn’t teach science correctly at home? Homeschool father and engineer, Bill Bickle, has links to show how school texts mess up science facts.

Stand and Deliver Revisited
The untold story behind the famous rise — and shameful fall — of Jaime Escalante, America’s master math teacher. By Jerry Jesness.

Why Nerds are Unpopular
The key to this mystery is to rephrase the question slightly. Why don’t smart kids make themselves popular? If they’re so smart, why don’t they figure out how popularity works and beat the system, just as they do for standardized tests? By Paul Graham.

Age Division

Isn’t it natural for children to be divided by age in school?
The fact is, however, that most American schools were ungraded until the second half of the nineteenth century, writes Karl Bunday.


Chalkboard, computer, homeschooling
Use what works best. Amy Trollinger, special to the South Florida Business Journal, writes about Jim Kunz. Kunz is on a one-man crusade to convince educators, parents and students that “self-directed learning” is the wave of the future.

Charter Schools
A new phenomenon has arisen within communities either frustrated with local education reform. If a school could be free to develop its own educational charter, perhaps it would be able to find more teaching success.

Bullying at School

Homeschooling because of Bullying at School
Don’t wait until you have done “all” the research, and gotten “all” the materials! You will always be researching homeschooling. You will always be buying interesting things for your child use for learning. Grab your child and run into homeschooling while he or she still has their mental and physical health!

Compulsory Education

Case Against Compulsion
Mary Novello’s brief is that compulsory school attendance serves no clear educational purpose while costing untold amounts in dollars and psychic energy.

The Emergence of Compulsory Schooling and Anarchist Resistance
The history of the development of Western schooling is a complex and meandering thing, but I think it is worth looking at in a very abbreviated form here. A little insight into the logics and basis for contemporary compulsory schooling might be useful to social ecologists. By Matt Hern, Institute for Social Ecology.


Deschooling Society
Ivan Illich’s 7 chapter book, all of it, online here. From chapter 1: “The pupil is thereby “schooled” to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new.”

Education of Girls

AAUW Research
On the education of girls in the American school system. Numerous research projects by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Available for purchase.

The Effects on Adolescent Girls of a Girls-Only Math and Science Curriculum
August 3, 2004. Mathematics and science instruction in girls-only classrooms may result in higher achievement levels and enrollment persistence for girls enrolled in those classes.

How Schools Shortchange Girls
When girls call out answers in elementary school, typically they are chastised and told to raise their hands. When boys call out answers, teachers listen.

Women’s Rights in Education
One major step backward is the increasing trend of separating boys and girls in public schools based on sex stereotypes. ACLU.

Effect on Children

Getting Hit on the Head Lessons
If a practice can’t be justified on its own terms, then the task for children and adults alike isn’t to get used to it, but to question, to challenge, and, if necessary, to resist. By Alfie Kohn

Wounded by School
by Kirsten Olson
Read Inside
How Does School Wound? Kirsten Olson Has Counted Some Ways
Olson was pioneering a direct way to understand the effects of school on psychological development. She asked people who had been there how school affected them.

Nobel Prize Winners Hate School
Karl Bunday quotes Nobel Prize winners’ thoughts about schooling.

School is a prison — and damaging our kids
Longer school years aren’t the answer. The problem is school itself. Compulsory teach-and-test simply doesn’t work. By Peter Gray. Research has shown that people of all ages learn best when they are self-motivated, pursuing questions that are their own real questions, and goals that are their own real-life goals. In such conditions, learning is usually joyful.

Future of Schools

Closing the Gap To Build Support for Education
If you could see the lineup of people, resources, and money behind the effort to persuade you that all is well, you would be astonished that any negative or critical coverage appears anywhere, at any time. From the Education Intelligence Agency.

Open Portal Schools
My friend, Liza Loop, takes you on an imaginary journey into the future. Say, Fall of 2010. (Written in 1986, Liza manages to predict what many of the public homeschool centers have turned out to be like.)

Good Schools, Bad Schools

The Death And Life Of The Great American School System
From Chapter 6: NCLB: Measure and Punish, by Diane Ravitch. My support for NCLB remained strong until November 30, 2006. I can pinpoint the date exactly because that was the day I realized that NCLB was a failure.

First to Worst
The Merrow Report. In the 50’s and 60’s California had the best school system in the country. Now it is one of the worst. What happened in the past 40 years to lead to the decline and what is being done to help it improve.

Mistakes Educational Leaders Make
Having problems with your kids’ principal? One in three end their careers being fired! Here’s just teachers’ complaints about principals. Leaders in area homeschool support should also take note and try to not make the same mistakes. ERIC Digest

Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computers
At home I played with a lot of kids who had engineers for parents and we learnt how to connect microphones, speakers, buzzer alarms and flashing lights for house-to-house intercoms.

School Sucks Project
Education Evolution. A series of podcasts, a blog and a forum on the paths to solutions to make schools suck less.

Schools and Kids
Wash, DC: What do you think of homeschooling? Can it be a force for improvement, like Charter schools? Diane Ravitch (professor, researcher and author of Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms): I don’t advocate homeschooling but I respect the right of those parents who choose to do it.

Ten Signs that You Need to Find a Different Kind of Education for Your Child
Many parents do not realize that the education world has changed drastically since they were in school. By Jerry Mintz.

There is No Normal
The reason I say that what I call the “conventional” model—because it is based on convention (how we’ve always done it) and not on how most children actually learn—is outdated is because current neuroscience, developmental theory, and psychology are telling us there is no normal. Different children learn and develop in very different ways, at very different times, and at very different rates.


The Homework Ate My Family
“It’s ironic that politicians talk so much about family values,” says Mandel, “when you can’t have any family time any more because the kids are so busy keeping their nose to the grindstone.” Time Magazine, 1/19/99.

Modern Grade-School Pressures
Toward too much homework, too little freeplay, by Teresa Gallagher. Pressured to spend more time memorizing and less time playing, our children are being labeled ADD when they stress out.

Parents Are Best Teachers

Myth #4 “You Need Teacher Training, Dearie”
By using and constantly honing the parental qualities you already enjoy, you are much closer to learning the secrets of lighting fires within youngsters’ minds, setting them on a course to appreciate and pursue learning for a lifetime, than many, if not most, trained teachers. By Linda Dobson.

You Have Choices
The public school system implies that there really aren’t any school options. You can send your kids to public school, or you can send your kids to public school. By Ronnie Ugulano.

Political Interference

Petitioning to make all schools private
The system Ms. Miller is eager to expose is not a communist dictatorship. It is the United States public-school system, which, according to Miller, wastes money, destroys children, and “causes nothing but misery.” Marjorie Coeyman, Christian Science Monitor.

Problems with Standards

Life and Music
How life and education ought to be more like a musical composition than a means to and end. An animated philosophy by Alan Watts.

School is Dead, Learn in Freedom
Karl Bunday offers the arguments for the freedom to homeschool.

Ravitch: Standardized Testing Undermines Teaching
“I came to the conclusion … that No Child Left Behind has turned into a timetable for the destruction of American public education,” she tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.

Schooling: The Hidden Agenda
So you see that our schools are not failing, they’re just succeeding in ways we prefer not to see. Turning out graduates with no skills, with no survival value, and with no choice but to work or starve are not flaws of the system, they are features of the system. These are the things the system must do to keep things going on as they are. By Daniel Quinn, The Ishmael Community.

Top Ten Mistakes in Education
Here are ten top school system mistakes, favorite not because I like them but because eradicating them would go so far towards helping kids learn. From Engines for Education.

Safety Issues

Losing my Tolerance for “Zero Tolerance”
Passing an inflexible law does not stop murder — which is already quite illegal. Terrorizing a little kid for sharing candy — and justifying it afterward when an outraged parent complains — doesn’t stop drug use. And it never will. As far as I can tell, Zero Tolerance has only negative effects. It must be stopped.

Schools and Suicide
Karl Bunday writes on the relationship between school attendance (especially compulsory school attendance) and youth suicide.

Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 1- Safety
Why does it seem that the disruptive students are being catered to while all of the other children are being terrorized everyday? This should.not.happen.


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